As ecommerce continues to eat brick-and-mortar retail and department stores and they continue to close throughout the country, shopping centers and malls are looking for new types of tenants to not only fill vacant retail space, but also act as anchors to generate foot traffic. Simon, the nation's largest mall owner, and Allied Esports, an esports entertainment company, have teamed up to develop a dedicated esports venue at Mall of Georgia, in Buford, Ga. The two-level, 13,000-sq.-ft. facility will be a gaming and esports destination for players and community members of all levels. The venue, in a former Charming Charlie space at the mall, will host different amateur and professional esports tournaments for games like Fortnite, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart and every night of the week. It is expected to open by the end of this year.
Allied Esports and Simon announced a strategic alliance in June 2019 in which the two companies entered into a partnership to open dedicated esports venues at Simon centers around the country. They also agreed to create a co-produced national amateur esports tournament - the Simon Cup - featuring online competition and in-person events. The venue atMall of Georgia, as well as additional future locations at Simon properties around the country, will become key components of the competition in the future.